Do you rely on free or trial version software to keep your business's computers secure? Many small businesses operate on shoestring budgets. It's difficult enough to buy computers, rent the facility, stock the products and pay for the marketing necessary to keep customers aware and interested in your company - the list goes on and on. Where security software is concerned, freeware probably sounds a great deal more attractive than paid licenses for each of your business's computers.
Where security software is concerned, freeware probably sounds a great deal more attractive than paid licenses for each of your business's computers. But is it really?
Although using free software when possible is one way to reduce your technology costs, you can actually save just as much money - and perhaps more - by using managed cloud-based technology services instead. In addition, managed services give you access to the latest software updates, prompt support and better attention to privacy.
If you're currently using free software to secure your business's computers and network, your present solution has several limitations about which you should be aware. In this article, we'll describe a few of them.
Lack of Updates
Many companies that make security software distribute free trials of their products. A free trial gives you an opportunity to see a product's capabilities before you pay for it.
In most cases, though, the free trial will eventually end. To continue utilizing all of the product's features, you'll need to buy it. If you decide not to buy the software, it may still provide some protection for your business's computers. However, it may not continue receiving updates.
Security software often has the ability to recognize and block many known viruses from the internet. You may consider it unlikely that your business requires protection from a virus created a decade ago, but you will need protection from the viruses that are propagating in the wild right now.
If your security software no longer receives updates, your business lacks a segment of protection that poses a serious threat.
Many software products that are free for personal use require businesses to purchase licenses. If the security software that you're using doesn't allow free use for businesses, your use of the product may actually be illegal. Continuing to use the software might create the possibility of a lawsuit.
Even if a lawsuit doesn't result, you may find it difficult to obtain support if you aren't using the software according to the license terms.
Privacy and Data Sharing Concerns
If the product is free, you aren't the customer -- you are the product.
A free security software product doesn't have to be a time-limited trial. There are also security products that are completely free. You can usually recognize a completely free software product by the fact that it displays advertisements while you use it.
If a product has no full version available for you to buy, though, it isn't really the product. Rather, the collective user base of that software is the product that the creator of the software sells to advertisers.
You shouldn't assume that security software is inferior simply because it is free. However, free software may force you to give up certain privacy rights.
Free security software may collect statistics about the way in which your company's employees use it. The software may even force your employees to download toolbars that monitor their web browsing habits.
Lack of Support
Providing support for software is extremely costly. People who answer calls and respond to email expect to earn reasonable wages - and many of the companies that produce security software are small businesses with the same financial concerns that your company has.
If you aren't paying for a security product, you can expect to receive low-priority support or no support at all. No one will answer your questions, and no one will help you clean up the mess if a virus infects one of your computers.
Save Money Intelligently With Managed Services
If you need to use free software to keep your company's technology budget under control, it's time to re-evaluate the introduction of managed services.
Moving your data infrastructure to the Cloud increases the resiliency and availability of your network. It also gives you all of the features that you aren't getting with free software such as automatic updates, license compliance, and priority support.
Are you ready to begin reducing your technology expenses intelligently? Contact Continuous now to discuss your options.